If it isn’t quite the Sword of Damocles suspended over Ian Blair’s head, it’s certainly the kitchen knife of someone very close to him.
In an leaked email, Kit Malthouse, who, in January, authored a critical Times article headlined ‘Sorry, Noone Voted For You‘, wrote that ‘essentially it’s the mayor’s decision to suspend or not‘, while Dave Riddle, the MPA’s legal adviser, replied that “if there is to be action against the commissioner, it has got to be lawful . . . If the nuclear button is pressed, expect it to be crawled over for legal flaws”.
Malthouse has claimed, amusingly, that he was only investigating the ‘accountability and methodology‘ of a ‘hypothetical situation‘. Don’t borrow that one if your own salacious or incriminating correspondence is uncovered.
Over at Dave Hill’s London: Mayor & More blog, David Boothroyd offers an interesting theory:
“It seems fairly clear to me that someone close to Boris has leaked these emails. Three very good reasons for doing so: 1) Puts Sir Ian Blair on his toes and gives him a very good reason to want to get in Boris’ good books; 2) Highlights the fact that the Mayor is unable to suspend the Met Commissioner, and therefore stops him being accused of failing to do so; 3) Allies the Boris administration clearly with the anti-Sir Ian Blair camp, which looks like gaining political traction.”
I’m certainly sceptical of the idea that there is a plot to unseat Blair. With a Mayor that previously supported his sacking, and a Deputy for Policing that is clearly critical, the moves are rather more overt.
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